Reading the room is an essential part of leading worship well. If you want to truly lead people, in all areas of life - not just worship leading, you need to know where they are at and lead accordingly. However, far too often in our worship leading, we say "Follow me!", run towards the destination, but never take a look back to see if the people we're leading are still behind us.
Newsflash: not everyone who shows up to your church on Sunday is ready to worship. Your job as worship leader is to understand that and lead accordingly.
So, how do you read the room?
Here are 3 ways to read the room while leading worship:
1 | Open your eyes
The first step seems obvious - open your eyes. But the truth is most worship leaders lead with their eyes closed the majority of the time they lead worship (see the latest video on the LWW YouTube channel.)
It's very difficult to read the room when you have your eyes closed. So, open them up. Look out into the room. See the people you're leading.
2 | Determine where people are at
Now that you actually see the people you're leading, determine where they are. This is the hard part because as you know, worship can look like different things for different people. Some people worship with hands raised. Some people worship on their knees. Some people close their eyes and softly mouth the words of the song. Some people just stand there and stare.
The key in determining where your people are at is to get to know them. Understand what it means for them to truly worship.
3 | React accordingly
The final step is to adjust your leading based on what you've seen and concluded. Do people seem distracted? Give them an invitation to refocus. Do people seem confused by something? Take a moment to explain why you're doing what you're doing. Are people really connecting to a particular line in a song? Repeat it! At the end of the day, you can't MAKE people worship but you can see where the people you're leading are at and offer them opportunities to respond.
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